Saturday, 7 July 2012

Brilliant quinoa pie crust

So no Friday quickie this week, sorry about that. I did a long run yesterday (my trick to get the long runs done is to run home from work, that way you get closer and closer to home for every step and on a Friday evening that is quite motivating and keeps you going). Then after that I had to dash off to do my weekly grocery shopping, and when I finally got home, all I could do was to open a can of tuna followed by a chocolate bar. Not too much to blog about (and ashamed of the chocolate bar). 

However, what I have in store for you today should totally make up for it. This is again one of those moments when you go "oh my god, I can't believe I haven't thought about that, the person who came up with this deserves the food Nobel prize". I love pies, and for a long time now I have been trying to perfect a nice, relatively healthy pie crust. And I'll do a post about that some time, but this idea was way too good not to share immediately. I'm not saying this makes pie health food, it's still high carb, and usually there is a lot of empty calories from cheese. But at least this cuts out the extra empty calories from butter and wheat four in the crust. And adds a nice bit of protein as well. 

Again, I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest (it really is food-porn at it's best). I could spend all day browsing, mostly you get the same standard american chicken casserole or cheese dip recipes, not to even mention all sorts of peanut butter cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream and whatnots (the obsession Americans have with PB will always remain one of the big mysteries to me. It is certainly not that good...). Anyways, this one recipe caught my eye immediately because of the beautiful pictures. It's from a blog called Closet Cooking, which seems to have quite a range of recipes that fit in with my nutrition plan (talking about following a nutrition plan seems like a bit of a joke after munching my way through a giant chocolate bar yesterday, but I'll try to get back on the wagon. Tomorrow. As I have a dinner party planned for tonight...). Anyways, the recipe is for a courgette and feta pie, and as so happened, I had leftover courgettes and feta which both needed to be used up ASAP. And when I started reading the recipe, I discovered that the crust is made of brown rice. This was such a great idea! However, I'm not a huge fan of rice either, so I decided to try if it would work with quinoa. And it did, it actually turned out pretty damn good. So from now on, I can make (almost) guilt free pies whenever I want. This time I used some blue cheese as I had some left over from last week's crazy cheese and carb binge, but next time I will try to replace the cheese with yoghurt and see if the crust still comes together nicely.

Ok, so without further ado, let get pie-in'! 

Courgette and feta pie with quinoa crust (serves 4-6):
1 cup (160g) quinoa (dry weight)
1/3 veggie stock cube
60 g blue cheese (next time I'll try to replace this with yoghurt) 
1 egg
2 courgettes
2 cups (5 dl) spinach
4 scallions/spring onions
a big bunch of your favourite herbs (I used basil and flat leaf parsley)
2 eggs
black pepper
100 g feta

The howto:
Cook quinoa in water and the stock cube according to the instructions. Add blue cheese and egg and mix until smooth. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Spread the mixture in a pie dish (I used a spoon as the batter is quite sticky and stuck to my hands). Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crust turns golden.

While the crust is baking, grate courgette, and chop herbs, scallion and spinach finely. Mix with eggs and season with pepper. When crust is baked, spread the filling in the crust, and crumble feta on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling has set and feta gets a nice golden colour.

One serving (1/6 of the recipe) contains 246 kcal (12 g fat, 21 g carbs and 12 g protein). 

The verdict:
This is absolute food genius, finally a healthy(ish) pie crust. This feels a bit like the holy grail of pie crusts. I have a range of fillings I like, a salmon one, a tuna one and a white cabbage one so I will definitely be making this often. The courgette and herb filling tasted very summery and fresh, and the feta adds a nice bit of flavour, as the courgette needs something with a stronger flavour to complement the mild creaminess. But although the filling is nice, for me the genius of this recipe is the crust. I salute the genius who first thought of this!

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